Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 14, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 11/17/09

I have noted before that I believe Johnson County is blessed with the finest Public Health Department in the State of Iowa. The organization and administration of the recent H1N1 clinics have only reinforced my belief.

Thanks to everyone at the Johnson County Department of Public Health for all your efforts! Great job!

Johnson County has at long last adopted a Buy Local policy. I am surprised at how difficult this has been. The policy itself has no teeth and zero mandates; it simply says we MAY buy local. Yet folks seem to be gravely concerned over the ramifications.

Frankly, my guess is that the Board will do very little to enforce this policy. Perhaps the public will hold us to account. In any case, having a policy is a step in the right direction. I am proud that this day has finally arrived.

Johnson County continues to work on a Cosgrove village plan. As you may recall, one of the items that came out of our 2008 Land Use Plan update was a need to create land use plans specific to each of our 11 unincorporated villages. Plans have previously been completed for Frytown and Sutliff, and both were very successful. I expect the Cosgrove plan to be completed early in 2010.

Johnson County is putting the finishing touches on several road projects. Notably, Highway 965 is now open, and Oak Crest Hill Road is almost complete.

Both of these roads are known as “Transfer of Jurisdiction” or “TJ” roads. This is because the State of Iowa determined that they served a more local purpose, and would be a better fit as a part of the county secondary roads systems.

I agree that it made sense to transfer these roads from the State to the county. But here is the rub: the State agreed to pay $200,000 a year for ten years for all maintenance for all TJ roads - total. The current Oak Crest Hill and 965 projects combined to cost almost $4 million, and we have only done half of each road. Plus, there are several additional TJ roads that also need work.

Given the condition of these roads and the total mileage involved, the State should have transferred $1,000,000 per year for ten years to cover the cost of these roads. What occurred instead was yet another unfunded mandate.

Johnson County is catching up on the much-needed maintenance of these roads. But it is unfortunate that it is taking so much local time and local money.

November 15-21 is national Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week. The following local & state groups are sponsoring a Community Connections Day on November 18th to provide information and services for persons who are homeless and in need: Johnson County Local Homeless Coordinating Board, University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, Iowa Finance Authority, & Iowa City Human Rights Commission.

Community donations of new socks and underwear are requested for distribution during Community Connections Day, and donations can be made until 4:30pm on Tuesday November 17th at the following locations: Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, Coralville City Hall, Iowa City City Hall, and Johnson County Health & Human Services Building.

Government is GOOD! How do I know? Because FEMA exists to act when disasters strike. Face it – there is no way a local government could ever possibly save enough money to cover the losses from a natural disaster. The only way we can address these types of issues is through federal intervention.

Yes, FEMA has problems. But where would we be without the help of that agency following our recent floods? FEMA helped tremendously. Brought to you by your GOVERNMENT!

DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County has suffered 34 suicides in 2009, up from 19 in 2008. (Source: Medical Examiner’s Office.)

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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